Category Archives: Fellowship

A PRESCIPTION FOR PUTTING SANITY IN ONE’S LIFE!

prescription for sanity in one’s life!

Came to believe that a power greater than myself could restore me to sanity.” This is Step Two of Depressed Anonymous and it provides a program  for those of us who  want a step by step approach to putting light, hope  and sanity in our lives.

If you feel you are losing your sanity, then this is a program for you.  DEPRESED ANONYMOUS  WORKS FOR ME!

THE MIRACLE OF THE GROUP

THE MIRACLE OF THE GROUP

Yes, I believe in miracles! I believe in the miracles that I see happening in the lives of those persons depressed who keep coming back to our Depressed Anonymous meetings. As it says in the promises in the Depressed Anonymous book (2013)  that these promises will materialize quickly or sometimes slowly, that is a life filled with hope and serenity,  and  they will happen if we work for them and keep at it.

” … I now have the support from people who have walked where I have walked.” Depressed Anonymous, page 127.

Again, it is so important to find a group of caring persons who keep coming back–keep getting  better and who share with the new members,  and how by using the 12 Steps of recovery, they  gradually leave behind the prison of their depression. Our fellowship continually provides a ” 12 Step toolbox”  to its members  which they can use in their daily lives to live with hope. More importantly, they will hear how those who have left their symptoms of depression behind  now help others who have just started out on the journey. They now have the tools and the key that unlocks their own prison doors.

IT TAKES ONE TO KNOW ONE — AND HELP ONE ANOTHER!

AFFIRMATION

I WANT TO CARRY THE MESSAGE OF HOPE TO THOSE OTHERS WHO ARE DEPRESSED.

“I  (Dr. Dorothy Rowe) said what I so often said, that the best way depressed people can  help themselves is to help one another. Form a group, get to know one another, support one another.”

REFLECTION

They also think that all I have to do is just be cheerful and my mood will automatically change. It’s like telling someone to stop their diarrhea as if they have any control over it.  My depression took time to develop and so it will take time and work to remove. The people who are the most supportive are those who have been depressed themselves, they won’t tell you to “snap out of it!”

I best support myself when I find other people like myself and try and help them.

MEDITATION

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, and the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. (Personal comments).

SOURCE: Higher Thoughts for Down Days:  365 Daily Thoughts and Meditations for 12 Step Fellowship Groups. Depressed Anonymous Publications.  Louisville, Ky.  Page 201.

What is the power of Depressed Anonymous?

“What is the power of Depressed Anonymous? Well, let me say that when I started attending Depressed Anonymous meetings, I went for a couple of months and then stopped. I stopped going because of my depression was so bad that I didn’t want to leave my apartment. I didn’t want to be around to talk with anyone. I didn’t want to do anything but crawl in a hole somewhere and isolate myself from everything. Then after about six weeks of isolation, I called the residential treatment facility where I had been a client to see if I had received any mail there.  One of the members of the Depressed Anonymous group  where I attended answered the phone. I spent a few minutes talking to her and there was something in her voice that told me that for some reason, it was important for me to be at that meeting. After the meeting was over, I suddenly realized the importance and power of Depressed Anonymous.

So what is the power of Depressed Anonymous?  For me, its just like attending the first  meeting. I was a little scared and apprehensive at first, but then I found the Depressed Anonymous meeting was a place to go  where there were other depressed people just like me. They could relate to and understand what I was going through. They didn’t judge me or think of me as crazy.  I was accepted.

SOURCE: PERSONAL STORIES. A quote from Ray in Depressed  Anonymous (2013) 3rd edition. Depressed Anonymous Publications.  Louisville, KY. Page.133.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              OPOWER

Getting into action! To get out of the hole we have to stop digging!

Getting into action comprises one of the chapters of the Alcoholic Anonymous Big Book.  It was last nite that a person in our weekly phone meeting told us a way that she was “getting into action.”  She mentioned how  saying STOP to herself when certain thoughts spiraled her down into deeper ruminations that this enabled her  to change her thoughts into a physical hope filled action.

There is also another positive mantra that I personally like to use  is MOTIVATION FOLLOWS ACTION! Get the body moving and the body will follow. And finally I know that to get out of the hole of my depression is in fact to stop digging. How often have I continued to depress myself with all these unpleasant ruminations.

SNAP OUT OF IT!

 THE PROMISES  #6   The feelings of uselessness and self pity disappear.

In the Promises of Depressed Anonymous we see that “One of the major areas in our lives that change quickly by our attendance at the group meetings is that we pity ourselves less and less. We begin to be grateful for all that we have and all that we are.  We begin to see that once we start getting connected to others like ourselves on a regular basis, through our Depressed Anonymous meetings, we now are listened to by others and we are validated. We don’t hear “snap out of it” at our meetings. Suddenly our years of self pity, isolation and desolation have been cashed in for a currency that buys us a new competency, a new identity, autonomy and a burgeoning interrelatedness with others. We know we are not alone.

We now can speak about our experience with depression in the past tense. We can now show how we have the tools of self-care whereby we can dig out and begin to construct an edifice of hope that will last the rest of our lives. As long as we continue to use the tools of the program we are bound to feel different as well as think differently.”

COMMENTS, PLEASE.

SOURCES: Depressed Anonymous (2011) 3rd edition; The Promises of Depressed Anonymous (2002); I’ll Do it when I feel better (.2013) Page 41.

A SAFE HAVEN: THE DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS GROUP.

Higher Thoughts for down days for September 27.

AFFIRMATION

I am not going to have any expectations about any person, place or situation.

” The great attraction  of telling ourselves that we know how other people see things without making the effort to check whether we are right is that we can claim that other people will reject us, we do not have to make the effort to meet people and get to know them. If we tell ourselves that other people will find us boring , we do not have to make the effort to talk to people.” (3)

I am less prone to read people’s minds, but I am beginning to check other peoples feelings instead of trying to read their minds. I am finding that the more I am in tune and in touch with my own feelings, the more able I am to feel comfortable around other people. I am less concerned about their opinions of me as I am concerned about the feelings that I have about myself. I am no longer going to operate out of the belief that I am worthless or unacceptable. Gradually, the fellowship of the Twelve Step program has made me aware that I am acceptable, especially now that I am part of a group that talks of being wounded and in need of repair. I am no longer alone.

In the fellowship, we are all equal. When I first came into the program, I found it a safe haven and I felt strengthened by the support of the other members of the group.  The people who are like me understand me. They never tell me to snap out of something that has been going on in me for many years.

MEDITATION

The words that give us the most hope, are the words that by experiencing a spiritual awakening, we can find the serenity and life that we have been wanting to find all these years.

SOURCE: Higher Thoughts for Down Days:365 daily thoughts and meditations for 12 Step fellowship groups.. Page 193-194.

How can the Depressed Anonymous Group empower me?

“We know that 1) Depressed Anonymous  educates and informs us about our experience of depression. 2) We know that Depressed Anonymous nurtures  us so that we can begin to share unashamedly our unpleasant feelings with others. 3) Depressed Anonymous accepts us and does not make judgments about our experience with depression.  In  other words we don’t hear “snap out of it”  from the members of the fellowship. 4) Depressed Anonymous teaches coping skills by our frequent meetings and group membership interaction. We know about being connected with like minded folks. Depressed Anonymous empowers us so that we feel there is truly a way out of depression for self and/ or  my  loved ones. One of the major benefits of the group is that you can hear how other persons depressed have made it out of their depression. It is also clear that the program works best for those who keep coming back to the meetings.”

Source: I’ll do it when I feel better. 2013  DAP, Louisville, Ky Page 30.

Please comment if you like.

Therapists Views on Depressed Anonymous

The “Birth” of a Depressed Anonymous Group. Judith Bouffiou, Ph.D. (Cand.), Olympia, Washington

Isn’t life just full of expected and unexpected challenges, synchronous happenings, joys and griefs. Your life and mine. Following is a synopsis of a time in my life when I experienced all of the above. The summer of 1991 saw the dissolving of a business partnership for me; a painful, but healthy decision. The counseling center my ex-partner and I operated had provided the community with a Domestic Violence/Anger
Management (DV/A M ) Program for court and self referred clients, plus each of us had a private practice. M y decision to dissolve the partnership was motivated by a number of reasons, among them a desire to go back to school, and to spend more time and energy in my private practice. Over time my private practice had evolved into a growth and development type of practice, which I loved doing. A long with the dissolution of the partnership came the decision to no longer do the DV/A M work. I had a desire to still give the community some type of community service, but what?

Then I remembered reading some time earlier in one of my professional journals about a man who had developed a Twelve-step program, Depressed Anonymous for individuals who suffered from depression. Like most therapists, a significant number of the people I saw (and still see) in my practice were experiencing depression to one degree or other.

The more I thought about the concept of Depressed Anonymous, the more intrigued I was, so I contacted the founder of Depressed Anonymous for information and details. Information was sent to me and that was the start of the first Depressed Anonymous group in Washington State.

From the Depressed Anonymous material I received, I photocopied, organized, prepared and prepared and advertized. I decided on a start time and date, sent notices to our local paper, our Crisis Clinic, therapists and physicians in this area, tacked up flyers all over town, and of course, lots of word of mouth advertizing. The Depressed
Anonymous group originally met in a group room at my office, and eventually moved to a local church when I moved into a smaller office space.

A s a therapist I organized, started, sponsored, and “mothered” the Depressed
Anonymous group for a time, before withdrawing to just being the phone contact person that people can call in for information. From the very first meetings, which had 8-10 people, a “home” group evolved; fine people, some of whom had previous Twelve-step experiences. One of fine traditions and legacies of Twelve-step groups is the willingeness of folks to be and do the supportive and necessary work (the glue) that holds the Twelve-step groups together. The Twelve-step tradition and service continues on.

As is often the case, I have received more than I’ve given as the person who organized and started this Olympia, Washington Depressed Anonymous group. Now that I’m not a person who suffers from depression, other than short term appropriate situational depression; nothing ever deep or prolonged. A s I organized and started this Depressed Anonymous group little did I know that I would benefit from the Depressed Anonymous process and group in such a personal way.

The Depressed Anonymous group had only met two or three times when my middle son unexpectedly died from a type of cancer that years before had taken his father. So, in a synchronous manner, for a time and in a different way, the Depressed Anonymous group supported me as much as I supported them. In my prior work as a nurse, I had often been witness to dying and death, also in my personal life. However, the death of one son and then a year and half later, the death of my oldest son (two out of three) have been devastating experiences for me.

So in many, many ways being the organizer and sponsor of the first Depressed Anonymous group have been an exceedingly enriching experience for me. A s mentioned before, because of the wonderful people in the group, and with great confidence on my part, I turned the operation of the Depressed Anonymous group over to the capable hands of the home group people. I remain the telephone contact. The Depressed Anonymous group continues to thrive and grow. Just recently I talked with a man from Portland, Oregon, who is thinking about starting a group in the Portland area

MY VIEWS ON DEPRESSED ANONYMOUS

Denise L ., Louisville, Kentucky

One of the greatest resources I’ve used in working with many depressed persons has been Depressed Anonymous. The transformation it causes in an individual’s life is truly miraculous. This stems from it being primarily a spiritual program of healing and recovery. It encourages a person to seek a personal relationship with God, whoever they understand him to be. In doing this it helps a person to look inside for healing, rather than in a pill or some quick “cure”. M any persons who suffer with depression look on God as a being who judges them harshly. This thinking usually leads to much anger towards God, which results in more negative thinking. I know this from my own
experiences with depression, and the angry relationship with God I had during those times. This is where Depressed Anonymous offers hope by getting a person connected to a group who also suffer with depression, and are working the twelve steps. In doing this, it helps a person come to a realization that it will only be through a power greater than themselves, that they will find sanity in their life. Depressed people cannot do this alone because of the compulsion to ruminate endlessly over negative thoughts. It is only through coming together with a group of people like Depressed Anonymous, that they are able to break the cycle of negative thinking.

A client I was working with is a good example of the above. H e spent his time alone and many countless hours thinking of all the disappointments in his life, which continually reinforced his depression. Then he started going to DA, and found that through being with other people like himself, he didn’t feel as alone as he did before. H e started sharing his pain, and found understanding and support. I noticed his face began to soften, and he started smiling more. Then I noticed his face began to soften, and he started smiling more. H e also found help spiritually from DA, for he started
working the twelve steps, and as a result he started trusting God more for his healing. H e is one of many persons I’ve worked with who have found help and encouragement through attending DA .

The spiritual emphasis of DA is it’s greatest strength. People come together and hear from one another how their higher power is healing and guiding their lives. They realize that in being part of the group they are not alone, and also encourage true healing. DA has been a wonderful healing tool in the lives of many depressed persons I’ve worked with. It will always be one of the greatest resources I use in my work. It is true that “it works if you work it.”